Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons (Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream)

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Ever have a dinner that is surprisingly good? This was one of them. I never have high hopes for anything based around a chicken breast. They’re frequently dry and tasteless. And, while I haven’t tried it, I’m sure that brining helps (yet another thing on my cooking to do list). But, when you get down to it, chicken breasts aren’t particularly exciting. In many ways, they’re the tofu of the meat eating world except they don’t readily take on other flavors as well.

Except, when I made Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons (I’ve been avoiding using the proper name as it’s a bit incongruous in a sentence), it was surprisingly good. It wasn’t a burst of flavor in your mouth but it was simple and it was good. The chicken wasn’t dry and had some good flavor but the sauce was very creamy and chickeny. It may not be something to serve to guests but it’s good for a weeknight meal.

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I was particularly fond of the mushrooms (Angela doesn’t like them; and she also complains that I only say she doesn’t like things; she did like the chicken, so there). If you look at the pictures, you’ll think I had only a few but I didn’t ladle the rest of them out of the skillet until after taking the pictures. By the time I was finished, there were more mushrooms than chicken.

I should say, however, if you prepare this recipe realize that I did use a smaller chicken that I got from the farmer’s market. The breasts themselves were pretty small, probably only several ounces each; so the times may be different if you use a larger chicken breast. I’d suggest cooking to temperature instead of time.

I’m a bit surprised by this recipe as it doesn’t involving browning the chicken. Normally, browning meat is important for the development of flavor but not in this recipe. And I can’t say I missed it. Given that the chicken breast is small, a greater proportion of the flavor comes from the sauce and from the chicken stock in the sauce.

Serve with Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet (Madame Cartet’s Potato Gratin).

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Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons (Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced shallots
1/4 lbs. mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 tbsp chicken stock
2 tbsp white vermouth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp parsley

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Rub the chicken breasts with a small amount of the lemon juice and season with salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat until it is foaming. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes more. Season with salt.
  4. Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and roll them in the butter. Cover the skillet and place it in the oven. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the chicken breasts reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.
  5. Remove the skillet from the oven and remove the chicken breasts from the skillet. Add the stock and vermouth to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the liquid is syrupy.
  6. Add the cream and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the cream is thickened. Remove from the heat.
  7. Season with salt and lemon juice as needed. Stir in the parsley.
  8. Serve the chicken covered with the sauce and mushrooms.

Serves 2.

5 Responses to “Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons (Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream)”


  1. 1 Adele January 26, 2008 at 8:19 am

    “Tofu of the meat eating world.” Heh. So true. (Though it’s not bad in chicken piccata.)

    I have to admit, this does look pretty tasty in an “I’d like something rich, simple, and comforting” kind of way.

  2. 2 pantheraleo January 27, 2008 at 2:31 am

    I must say I am very impressed with your photographs. Taking pictures of food so it looks tasty is one difficult thing to do!

  3. 3 Lunes January 27, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Doesn’t it sound far for tantalizing on the taste buds in French rather than in English? Great photos and journal as always!

  4. 4 Matt January 29, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Adele – It’s good in pretty much the way you describe. It’s not particularly fancy and it’s not something I’d want to tell my cardiologist about eating (well, if I had one), but it’s good in a simple and comforting sort of way.

    pantheraleo – It doesn’t hurt my food pictures that, for me, photography was a hobby (specifically landscapes) before cooking really was. Having the right equipment also helps. I use a Canon Digital Rebel with a 50mm f/1.8 lens. None of this is helped by the fact that the light in the kitchen is awful. Someday I’ll invest in some proper lighting.

    Lunes – Giving a recipe title in French does make it seem better as well as more sophisticated. I can’t claim that it really makes it taste better, though.

  5. 5 csoontornvat May 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Adding the mushrooms soaked up all the butter, leaving none to coat the chicken. I recommend adding the chicken first and then removing to cook the mushrooms, cooking them simultaneously, or adding part of the butter for the mushrooms and the other part when you add the chicken.


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